Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma aka RGV has been making headlines with the hard-hitting promos of his upcoming release Lakshmi’s NTR. The political drama is based on an episode of the late actor-politician NT Rama Rao’s life. Ahead of the release, Varma recently interacted with media.
Here are the excerpts from the conversation:
Q. You had tweeted about the misunderstanding between you and the CBFC. What had happened?
We heard that the Censor Board was not ready to watch our film until the first phase of elections. So, I reacted to that because it is pure discrimination. The election commission had clearly said that the film’s release is not related to elections. So, I decided to have a press meet to address the same issue. However, later I realised that we misunderstood the CBFC’s stance. Hence, we called off the press meet.
Q. Earlier, the movie was scheduled to release on March 22. What was the reason behind the postponement of the release?
We were not technically ready to release the film. Hence, we pushed the release date.
Q. Did you not want to direct the film yourself?
Directing is not like how it used to be before. I am on the sets to take principle decisions and to look after the indoor and outdoor shooting process. Agasthya Manju is a very competitive guy.
Q. What motivated you the most during your research for Lakshmi’s NTR?
First, the relationship between NTR and Lakshmi Parvathi. Secondly, the conspiracy factor in the story and lastly, it has to be NTR’s suffering and how he died after facing a huge mental trauma. All three factors motivated me. I think these three elements are an integral part of the story.
Q. If you were the director of Nandamuri Balakrishna starrer NTR biopic, how would you have dealt with the film?
When they (Nandamuri Balakrishna) approached me, I didn’t want to do the biopic without this aspect (Lakshmi Parvathi episode). In my view, there should be an emotional conflict to do a biopic. There is no need for a biopic when you want to helm a straight line film.
NTR’s life was on a single track until his 70s. He was a hero in both his film and political career. From setting up the Telugu Desam Party to achieving victory instantly to his rise and fall in films, NTR has had instances but he quickly recovered. But after the entry of Lakshmi Parvathi in his life, he saw a decline, which eventually caused his death. That is why it is the most important part of his life.
Q. Do you think Lakshmi’s NTR release will be an issue?
We are living in a democratic country. I hundred per cent believe that it is impossible to stop the release of our film. Being the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, I think it is the duty of Chandrababu Naidu to protect the law and order. It is his responsibility to safeguard the legitimate constitutional rights. So, I firmly believe that Naidu will make sure of the film’s smooth release.
Q. What was the process to select an actor for NTR’s role?
For the portrayal of NTR’s character, we needed an actor who was capable of capturing the expressions and body language of the legend. I was very clear that we needed a new face to star in the film because, in my understanding, a new actor has high believability while portraying a real character. So, we roped in the theatre artist Vijay Kumar. Before starting the shoot, he underwent rigorous workshops to prep for the role.
Q. We heard the music of the film has also been given a lot of attention.
Music is an integral part of the film, especially because NTR comes from a film background. Also, I feel it is kind of a platonic love story (of Lakshmi Parvathi and NTR.) So, I wanted a very classical feel to the whole music in the film. They are also very well read and you get to know that through their communications. So, songs and music are what comes from the characters’ thought process.
Q. Does Lakshmi’s NTR portray Lakshmi Parvathi as innocent?
Lakshmi NTR’s main focus is why NTR got attracted to Lakshmi Parvathi. We have to look at her from NTR’s perspective. What did he see in her? What the film portrays is the truth I understood or I got to know about the personality it is based on. Now, when you watch the film, you might not agree with it because your truth can be something else.
Q. You said that this film is very special in your career.
NTR is popular among Telugu people across the world. So, filming an extremely personal tragedy of his life was a difficult and emotional task. This film is a responsible job. Here, the responsibility was to be truthful to him and to pay respects to him with being truthful to his emotion. That is why this film is very special to me.
Lakshmi’s NTR will release on March 29.